Series review: ‘She’ follows a would-be Mata Hari in Mumbai’s murkiness

“She” is a seven-episode series. (YouTube)
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Updated 26 March 2020

Series review: ‘She’ follows a would-be Mata Hari in Mumbai’s murkiness

  • Created by Imtiaz Ali, “She” is a drama in which a policewoman is picked to bust a huge drug cartel in Mumbai

CHENNAI: Mata Hari was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I, but she has transcended beyond that to symbolize the entire concept of a femme fatale. There are countless films based on this concept and that’s where Netflix’s “She,” directed by Arif Ali, loses a few points on the originality scoreboard.




Mata Hari was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I. (YouTube)

On top of that, the writing in the seven-episode series is patchy. Created by Imtiaz Ali, “She” is a drama in which a policewoman is picked to bust a huge drug cartel in Mumbai. Cliched in several ways, especially where gender dynamics are at work (with men in uniform looking down on their female counterparts), she takes a while to grab the viewer’s attention with a distinct lack of energy. And despite Imtiaz Ali having collaborated with writer Divya Johri, the male gaze is unwarranted and disturbing.




“She” is created by Imtiaz Ali. (YouTube)

Bhumi Pardesi (played by Aaditi Pohankar) catches the eye of her boss, Jason Fernandez (Vishwas Kini), who recruits her to infiltrate the ranks of the top drug dealers in Mumbai and she is asked to pose as a prostitute. Living in a slum with her perennially ill mother and a wayward younger sister, Bhumi is the sole bread winner. With a divorce pending in court – and the man making the most shocking demands in order to agree to the divorce, Bhumi’s life is nothing short of hell. 




“She” directed by Arif Ali. (YouTube)

Sadly, even before she is ready, Bhumi is pushed into the dangerous game. Her brief? Cosy up to Sasya (Vijay Varma), the trusted lieutenant of the kingpin in order to get to the bottom of the crime syndicate. Bhumi hates walking the streets at night, but she does not want to go back to her old life in the police department where she is constantly humiliated and harassed.

Pohankar does her best to keep the series alive and her metamorphosis from a nervous wreck into the epitome of courage is quite interesting, but somehow the shoddy writing wipes away at her sheen. Varma essays a cocky henchman and does provide a bit of a laugh and liveliness.

Hopefully, season two of “She” may address these issues.


Missing your salon? How to care for your hair while you #StayHome

We speak to a hair expert on the dos and don’ts of at-home hair care. (File/Instagram/@jessicakahawaty)
Updated 36 min 21 sec ago

Missing your salon? How to care for your hair while you #StayHome

DUBAI: As salon-goers face the closure of spas, salons and barbershops, we speak to Haneen Odeh, owner of UAE’s Snob salon for her take on the dos and don’ts of at-home hair care.

Many men and women who rely on salon visits to keep their lengths healthy could be left wondering what to do between now and their next visit to a professional hair stylist. But just as important is what not to do (read: DIY trim job) to avoid ruining your hair and having to impose your own personal period of self-isolation once the pandemic is over due to a ruined haircut you tried to pull off in the bathroom mirror.

Don’t bleach your own hair
“For those who usually go to the salon to dye their lengths blonde, roots may be starting to show now. And while it might be tempting, I would strongly urge to not bleach your own roots. Lightening dark hair is a very complex multi-step process that requires years of experience and professional grade products only available at salons. Bleaching your hair incorrectly might result in burning and damaging your hair. Instead, opt for a root spray such as the L'Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Concealer Spray. Otherwise, you can always conceal your dark roots with a headband or try wrapping your hair up with a scarf.” 

Do deep conditioning treatments
“Use this time to nourish your hair with a deep conditioning treatment. A lot of people simply apply it in the shower on wet hair for a few minutes and call it a day, but that way means that your lengths aren’t getting the full benefits of the product. Think of hair like a sponge, when it’s wet, it’s already full of water and cannot absorb anything more. So to make sure the product is fully absorbed into your locks, towel dry your hair after shampooing and then apply the treatment. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse. You’ll see a huge difference.” May we suggest The Let It Go Circle hair mask from Davines, which is designed to boost hydration and revitalize dry and brittle strands?  

Don’t pick up the scissors
“When you’re bored, it might be tempting to pick up the scissors but, and I can’t stress this enough, don’t trim your own bangs or make any big changes to your hair cut on your own. It will inevitably go wrong and you will end up paying more to get it fixed in the long run. Try out some new hairstyles instead. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube so experiment a little and get your hair professionally cut once it’s safe to do so.”

 Don’t over wash
“The more you wash your strands, the more you strip the scalp of its natural oils, and that in turn makes the scalp produce even more oil, which causes you to wash your hair more often — and the cycle goes on and on. Now is the perfect opportunity to give your lengths a break and cut down on the washing. Your hair might get oily, but once the adjustment period is over, you will notice that it will require less frequent washing.”

Do try scalp treatments
“Too often, we pay attention to the lengths of our hair and give our scalp no attention. But caring for your scalp improves the overall health of your tresses, stimulates hair growth and gets rid of dandruff due to product buildup. Scalp treatments range from serums to salt scrubs, so pick a product that suits your hair needs. Le Labo's basil-scented Scrub Shampoo uses black sea salt and menthol to clear away dirt and cool scalps down.”